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Freedom Ain't Free, Says Dodge

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On: Fri, May 18, 2012 at 9:55AM | By: Chris Salamone

Freedom Ain't Free, Says Dodge

All of the history buffs who peruse vintagecartalk.com might need a tissue for this one – tears and/or drool could be a problem. It’s no secret that Dodge vehicles have played a substantial role in the various war efforts of American history. Unfortunately, though, we tend to forget how much Dodge has contributed to our peace and prosperity at home. From jobs, to technology, to cars, and military components, Dodge has left a lasting legacy of patriotic support. And in some cases, that support came without the expectation of profit.

In tribute to our nation’s past and Memorial Day, Dodge has decided to post a two part retrospective, titled Dodge’s Military Might. Behold the successes of the brothers Dodge!

A few years ago, I picked up a book called The Dodge Brothers: the Men, the Motor Cars, and the Legacy by Charles K. Hyde. If you’re interested in the Dodge Blog’s Military Might series, Hyde’s book is well worth a quick read – providing vast insight into the Dodge brothers and their company.

After supplying to Ransom Olds and Henry Ford, the Dodge brothers set out to make their own destiny. World War I erupted and Dodge Touring Cars experienced first-hand combat throughout Europe. But these weren’t just stock, civilian Touring Cars. Instead, Dodge equipped military issue vehicles with “rugged canvas duck fabric tops and khaki paint with the Army serial numbers painted across the hoods to allow for easy identification.”

Apparently, the dependability and performance of Touring Cars in some of Europe’s most renown battles – Chateau-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and Marne – instigated letters of commendation from appreciative soldiers. One such soldier was none other than General “Blackjack” Pershing. A compliment from General Pershing should count as extra significant because he is credited for accomplishing the highest rank ever held by a member of the United States Army: General of the Armies. In the 1970s Congress passed an edict which posthumously granted George Washington the same rank…just to keep things fair.

As World War I progressed, Dodge also helped with Screen Side Trucks and Ambulances. “Other contributions included components, such as the recoil mechanism for France’s 155-mm guns. To support this effort Dodge built a special plant, erected specialized machinery and financed the entire project without turning a profit. At this plant, 30 units were produced each day.”

Of course, World War I wasn’t the end of Dodge’s commitment to national service. World War II, Korea and other conflicts were just around the corner. But we’ll have to wait for Dodge’s Military Might part 2…and of course…more tissues.


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